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St. Paul, Minnesota – Minnesota’s economy and the state’s bottom line will get a boost when Governor-elect Dayton enrolls Minnesota in early Medical Assistance (MA) after he’s sworn into office on January 3rd. Due to a compromise crafted last session by state lawmakers, the incoming Governor has until January 15th to enroll Minnesota in early MA, infusing about $1.2 billion in federal dollars into local hospitals and care providers to cover thousands of Minnesotans currently served under General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC).
Dayton has signaled that enrolling Minnesota in early MA will be one of his first official actions as Governor. State health care leaders who were integral in the legislative solution applauded Dayton, saying early MA will create jobs, ease budget strains, and improve health care in Minnesota.
“The biggest ripple from early MA will be felt in communities across the state through more jobs and stronger local economies," said State Rep. Tom Huntley (DFL – Duluth). “These resources will inject needed dollars directly into local hospitals, creating thousands of Minnesota jobs at a time when strengthening our economy is our top priority.”
The option to enroll in early MA was granted to Minnesota and other high performing health care states within the Affordable Care Law. Early MA will cover adults currently enrolled in the triaged General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) program and a portion of those on MinnesotaCare with matching federal resources. As a result, Minnesota care providers will capture more than $1.2 billion in federal dollars for a state investment of less than $200 million – a better than 6 to 1 return on the state investment.
“This is a good deal for all Minnesotans,” said State Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL – St. Paul). “Capturing these resources allow us to fill gaps in our health care safety net and eliminate cost shifting that raises health care premiums and property taxes on all Minnesotans.”
Early MA enrollment will also make next year's budget decisions easier by significantly reducing the projected shortfall in the Health Care Access Fund by nearly $500 million dollars. That fund currently provides health care to nearly 200,000 working families in Minnesota. According to the recent budget forecast, early MA will actually cost the state about $50 million less than covering the same population exclusively through MinnesotaCare.
“This option allows us to reduce costs while providing our care providers the resources they need to care for Minnesotans,” said Murphy “Early MA is a win-win-win for our care providers, patients, and our state’s bottom line.”
While early MA will replace the GAMC program, Murphy said the Legislature must learn from the benefits of intensive coordinated care that was implemented as part of the triaged GAMC program.
“We need to carry forward our work to reform health care delivery in Minnesota to achieve healthier outcomes and bend the cost trajectory of health care costs," said Murphy. “Our collective work over the past few years is moving us in the right direction and we must persist in our efforts for Minnesotans and our economy."
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